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Arnold Lake State Forest

hikingprimitive campinghuntingtrappingsnowmobilingcross-country skiingsnowshoeingaccess for people with disabilitiesparkingicon key

Arnold Lake State Forest locator map

The 1,266-acre Arnold Lake State Forest surrounds Arnold Lake. The main trail is a 5.5 mile loop that crosses public highways at three places. Parking is available at each of these points, so hikes of different lengths can be arranged if two vehicles are used. The trail has several short, steep pitches but can be skied comfortably by cross-country skiers of modest ability.

Featured Activities



General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.

The trails are maintained by the Susquehanna Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club and are marked with yellow cross-country ski markers. They consist in part of forest access roads or logging roads and in part of narrow footpaths. There are several open fields that have been logged and are returning to tree cover. They will provide some nice views.

For a trip of about 3.5 miles that starts and ends at Joe Cornell parking lot, take the trail across County Highway 46 from Joe Cornell Road. It begins on the access road to a quarry, but after just a few yards it forks to the right on a footpath. In about a mile, the trail intersects an access road that leads to private property on the left. Cross the road and continue on an old road. About a half mile ahead, keep going straight where another old road goes to the right. The trail soon jogs north (left) and then east again, to a sign for the Joe Cornell Road trailhead. Continue straight ahead. The trail soon curves right. At the bottom of a short hill, turn right onto the access road, which will bring you back to the intersection with the footpath. Turn left and retrace your steps to the trailhead.

For an end-to-end hike from Joe Cornell Road to Arnold Lake Road, follow the above instructions to the sign for the Joe Cornell Road trailhead and bear left. This hike is about 2.5 miles long.

The segment of trail on the east side of Arnold Lake follows a forest access road and is good for cross-country skiing. It's approximately 2.5 miles long.

From the sign-in box at the Joe Cornell Road parking lot, a 1-mile trail leads down to an intersection with County Highway 46, across from the forest access road.


primitive camping

General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.

Primitive camping is allowed. Campsites must be at least 150 feet away from the nearest road, trail, or body of water. Camping for more than three nights or in groups of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger.

Hunting & Trapping


Wildlife Management Unit: 4F

General Information on hunting and general information on trapping includes how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules and regulations.

Hunting and trapping are allowed during appropriate seasons. The main game species and furbearers found on the property include deer, turkey, ruffed grouse, rabbits, squirrels, and coyotes.



General information on snowmobiling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.

One snowmobile trail crosses the property and connects to a larger network of trails. The trail is maintained by the Milford Snow Trekkers (leaves DEC website) through a volunteer stewardship agreement.

Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing

cross-country skiing

General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are also permitted on all hiking trails. The segment of trail on the east side of Arnold Lake follows a forest access road and is good for cross-country skiing. It's approximately 2.5 miles long.


General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.

Otsego County lies on the eastern end of the Central Appalachian ecozone which hosts a plethora of wildlife. In addition to the notable game species and furbearers, a variety of songbirds as well as birds of prey can be found within the property.

Accessible Features

access for people with disabilities

General information on accessible recreation includes links to other locations with accessible recreation opportunities and information on permits for motorized access.

There are trails throughout the forest that allow motorized access for people with mobility impairments. A permit is required through the Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD).


Arnold Lake State Forest has two primary parking areas.

  • Arnold Lake Road Parking Lot (42.615244°N, 75.000686°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Joe Cornell Road Parking Lot (42.600681°N, 75.015771°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace Principles (leaves DEC website) when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly, minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.

All users of Arnold Lake State Forest must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Specific Rules

Mountain biking and horseback riding are allowed within the property but there are no designated trails or maintained areas for these activities.

Planning and Management

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Leatherstocking Unit Management Plan (PDF). In addition to management objectives, the UMP contains detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural & human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us at

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Where to Find Nearby Amenities

  • Lodging and dining opportunities, as well as gas, food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Cooperstown, Milford and Oneonta

Cooperstown and Otsego County Tourism (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

Numerous guidebooks and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores and on-line booksellers.

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings.

Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.